The Winemaker

The Winemaker

Noah Gordon’s latest novel has now been translated for the English-speaking public, and The Winemaker is a delight to read. Josep Alvarez, the second son of a man who cultivates grapes to produce sour wine, is determined to make better wine in the town of Santa Eulàlia in Catalonia. But with his older brother Donat being the one to inherit, Josep unwittingly finds himself being drawn into a key assassination plot in Spain. Will he ever be able to return to Santa Eulàlia to make the wine he loves when his past is always just around the corner?


Despite a large portion of the novel describing the processes of grape-growing and winemaking, The Winemaker takes the reader on a journey through nineteenth century Spain. Gordon unravels Josep’s story slowly but surely using flashback, and the relaxed pace of the novel means that you can sit back for an easy and enjoyable read. The plot twists are clever and the ending is particularly well executed – it was a shock to discover just how Josep ended up becoming heavily culpable in the assassination plot.


I do prefer Gordon’s The Physician, soon to become a film, but The Winemaker is pleasant enough to read. It’s perfect for a summer holiday read (if summer ever arrives!) and the hot Spanish setting will bring the holidays right to your doorstep. There aren’t many sub-plots or even many characters in the novel and the details of winemaking are perhaps overdone, but in the end this doesn’t matter. The Winemaker is the successful story of one man’s dream to create a better life for himself and it’s great to read.

By Julia Molloy

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